On ‘strong female protagonists’

It’s just approaching the wrong side of ‘holy fuck look at the time I should be asleep’ as I start writing this. So, around 2 in the morning. But instead of settling down to sleep, I’m alternating between Mastodon’s Leviathan and Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Labyrinth trying to build up a mood for this pitch about, well, I’d rather not say. But that’s besides the point of this post, and likely something I won’t mention again for a good long while.

The point of this is I needed a protagonist for the story. Once I have a loose frame of an idea, I like to populate it with characters and fill it in from there. In this case, we have one Kasumi Tanaka. She’s an agent of some description, and I’d rather leave it at that for now, because this is an idea in the very early stages.

But, you see, when I started filling in her traits, the first one I jumped to was strong. She’s a strong female protagonist. And then that bridge part from Blood & Thunder came on and I was forced to rock out just a little bit. Then I looked at it again. Strong female protagonist. And, well, it’s just so dull isn’t it?

To my horror, I opened up some of the early plan documents for Post-Apocalipstick, and found I’d done the same with Lou-Lou, Sherilyn, Lee, and the others. Somewhere in there, they were all described as strong. But it’s stupid. They’re not all strong. During the course of the story, one of them revealed herself as being the exact opposite of strong. And, hey, that’s fine. Because it’s my job to write people, not simple archetypes.

So screw it. As my friends know, I’m notorious for preferring female protagonists (although why they’re female protagonists when we never hear about male protagonists is one of those things that really annoys me but I don’t want to digress too far). I’ll continue to write them, and I’ll likely continue to find them a lot more interesting to write than male protagonists. But I’m tired of settling for making them strong, when there are so many other things I can do with them.

Fuck strong. Strong is boring.


1 thought on “On ‘strong female protagonists’

  1. Hello there!
    This is a pretty interesting viewpoint on female protagonists, though I think you view of strong here applies to protagonists in general as well.
    The stereotype as you call it here, IMO, applies more often to the male heroes–so cool, so powerful, so drop-dead perfect…and yes, so boring. I guess it’s one of the reasons why many prefer female protagonists: they can easily go between super strong and touchingly vulnerable. (It just bothers me a lot when females are portrayed as overly dramatic, pathetically drooling and being “torn between two lovers” Mary Sues. Not all women are THAT fickle! God!)
    So I think the true strong female protagonist is the one who has weaknesses and fears but manages to overcome them not because of her hunky love interest(s), but because of her desire to be a better character. And according to what you’ve got here, I think yours fit the bill.
    Plain strong is boring. Human strength is awesome!
    Cheerio! And keep on writing! 😀

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